ASA ruling on Go Provence Supported Holidays Ltd
An ad for a prize promotion seen in December 2016 in a disability lifestyle magazine, to win a week long all-inclusive holiday at a supported resort for adults and children with learning disabilities/difficulties and autism, in France. The Terms & Conditions included text stating, “… which will be shared accommodation”.
The complainant, who won the competition and then discovered that he would not be able to use his prize because the holiday resort was not suitable for his access requirements, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Go Provence Supported Holidays Ltd t/a Go Provence said that ‘disability’ had a wide definition and that the magazine readers would have needed to check their website to see if the accommodation was wheelchair accessible. They also stated that the ad for the competition included a picture of a group on a rafting trip and jumping in a lavender field which they believed would lead readers to check whether the holiday would be suitable for wheelchair users. Further they said that they had been willing to accommodate the competition winner’s additional needs which included accessible accommodation, but that due to the increase in costs the competition winner decided it was better for the competition to be redrawn. They also stated that if a wheelchair user wished to go on holiday with the company, they would have tried to find suitable accommodation for them and that this may have been shared.
2a Publishing Ltd t/a Pos’ability said that they had not received a complaint about the competition stating that the shared accommodation was not reasonably accessible and therefore they had not had the opportunity to discuss the matter directly with the complainant. Also, they understood the accommodation offered in the prize was reasonably accessible and therefore the complainant may have been able to take up the prize as advertised. Further, they considered that the full details of the prize and a description of the services offered by the prize provider were clearly outlined in the ad. The competition clearly stated within the description of Go Provence Supported Holidays who were offering the prize that the holiday company catered for adults and children with learning disabilities, learning difficulties and autism. Further, it also stated within the text that the holiday prize included activities such as kayaking, a mini cruise, a trip to a local market, swimming in nearby lakes and much more. Furthermore, the terms and conditions stipulated that the holiday was for one person for one week and the holiday must be taken on the 3-10 of August 2017. The terms and conditions also made it clear that the prize was for one person for one week, that the accommodation was shared and that all meals, activities and travel around Provence were included within the prize. They said that they considered the changes the competition winner sought from the advertiser were all related to personal preference and were not necessary to allow him to take up the prize.
The complaint was upheld. The CAP Code required that promotions communicated all significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information was likely to mislead. The ASA considered that in the context of the ad, to win a “supported holiday for people with learning difficulties”, in a disability lifestyle magazine meant that consumers would not necessarily interpret “shared accommodation” as meaning that the accommodation was not accessible for wheelchair users. The ASA considered that the average consumer would interpret the phrase as meaning that the accommodation included in the prize was a room that would not be solely used by the competition winner. The ASA noted that the ad for the competition included images of people in a raft and jumping in the air, and that the description of the holiday included activities such as kayaking. However, the ASA considered that this did not make it sufficiently clear that consumers who used a wheelchair may be unable to access the accommodation. The ASA acknowledged that the advertiser was willing to provide alternative accommodation suited to the competition winner’s needs. However, the ASA considered that in the context of a disability lifestyle magazine, which contained multiple ads and articles for readers who were physically disabled, accessibility was a significant condition which was likely to influence a consumer’s decision about entering the promotion and therefore should have been included in the ad. On that basis the ASA concluded that the promotion breached the Code.
Go Provence and Pos’ability were told to ensure that their future promotions included relevant applicable significant conditions where their omission was likely to mislead, including whether or not a competition prize was accessible for readers who used a wheelchair. The ASA considered that they should take into account any obligations they had under the Equality Act 2010 when they communicated any limitation on what was offered to their readers, for example, the duty to make reasonable adjustments.